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Founded in 1972, AIA’s Disaster Assistance Program equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. Aligning with emergency management practices, AIA’s Disaster Assistance Program is supported on the local, state, and national level and works with members to engage with and support the larger disaster-response community.   T ypically, AIA State Disaster Assistance Program administration is led by the AIA state chapter, though in some cases a strong local chapter will take the lead. These resources are relevant to all component leaders as they build and grow their State Disaster Assistance Programs.  ...
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This fall, the AIA Communities by Design visited Cannelton, Indiana. Below, find a summary of the process and the recommendations presented by our team. You can read the full report  here .  Project Background and Process In late 2019, Cannelton applied to the AIA for a Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) to provide recommendations for the future of the Can Clay site. In March 2020, AIA Team leader Terry Ammons and AIA staff visited Cannelton to conduct an initial scoping mission for the project. This visit occurred just days before the onset of the global COVID pandemic, which subsequently postponed the full community project indefinitely. In early ...
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Echoing the content and context of Connection Q3: Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I), Sharika Tasnim provides additional perspective in her piece, "Occupying Spaces". Occupying Spaces by Sharika Tasnim, Assoc.AIA Sharika is currently a student at MIT. She is also serving as  Managing Director of Eco Architect and Technology Limited. The evolution of architecture and aesthetics in U.S. city-planning did not take into account the native experience and lifestyle, or draw on a connection to other non- white communities, such as the East Asian immigrant workers or Black Americans who made up the majority of the expanding ...
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Written by Barbra Batshalom and Tate Walker   The urgency to respond to the impacts of climate change is now translating into regulation, policy and client requirements. Storms, heat waves, floods and other outcomes are not new, but the current response is unprecedented.  Can we meet the challenge? Many firms have been working hard at this for more than a decade, but we find ourselves at a transitional moment. Unlike the pursuit of sustainability rating systems for individual projects, this challenge requires every firm to transform at the practice level. The AIA 2030 program is uniquely designed to structure your firm’s journey toward consistently high ...
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The Role of Steel in the Sustainability of Insulated Metal Panels   By AIA Partner Kingspan When it comes to reducing carbon emissions in the manufacture of insulated metal panels (IMPs), steel plays a critical role. That’s because steel is a key component of IMPs, which are made by sandwiching high performance insulation between steel panels. The properties of steel, as well as how steel is manufactured, are two key factors that can help reduce embodied carbon in IMPs.     The inherent properties of steel make it the most recycled material on the planet,  according to the World Steel Association . Steel is 100% recyclable, which makes it an ...
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by Alison   Toussaint- LeBeaux   and Kelsey   Wotila , AIA   Resilience is more apparent in the hearts and attitudes of native New Orleanians than the city’s infrastructure. When we examine recovering and rebuilding after Hurricane Ida, an architect can’t help but ask, why not solar as a systemic resilience strategy? In addition to thinking more about passive survivability as a general approach, we suggest that solar should be front and center as a resilience strategy. Solar can be a “short circuit” from reliance on Entergy, the controversial monopoly power supplier to the region.        While propane and gas generators are a staple ...
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AIA’s delegation to the 26 th  UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow is working to amplify the profession’s voice and magnify our impact in the battle against climate change through leveraging existing partnerships and creating new global connections. While we’re there, the wheels of domestic government continue to turn – albeit slowly. As chair of COTE’s Advocacy subcommittee and the AIA Board of Directors’ Government Advocacy Committee (GAC), I would like to offer my opinion on why we should remain optimistic that the 117 th  US Congress and the Biden Administration may yet pass meaningful climate action legislation.     ...
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It’s getting close to the end of another COVID-induced chaos of a year. We’ve come a long way in learning how to deal with working differently, and we’ve learned important lessons while doing it. The global slow down meant that carbon emissions for 2020 fell by 6.4% worldwide, according to  Nature Magazine , and fell 13% in the US. It would be nice to think we’d learned from this, but signs are already showing that as business tries to find a “new normal” emissions are creeping up again. But architects are leading the charge to curb emissions in our sector and encourage governments to strengthen commitments, too; many are at  COP26  as this reaches your in-box, ...
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Members of the AIA Committee on the Environment know that design for health and well-being requires connecting interior environments to the world outside with intention and care. But do we really know what is going on in our bodies and minds when we look out a window?  Lisa Heschong has long been captivated by this question and her brilliant new book,  Visual Delight in Architecture: Daylight, Vision, and VIew  (Routledge, 2021) explores in an entertaining, accessible, and thorough way the connections between daylight, views and human health and well-being. This delightful book will teach you more than you can imagine about the subject yet will leave you ...
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by Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, and Vincent Martinez, Hon. AIA What does the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) under way up in Glasgow have to do with AIA COTE members? In one word, plenty ! As members of the Board Committee on Climate Change and Design Excellence (CCADE) we’re all about coordinating and promoting the AIA’s Climate Action Plan throughout the Institute’s many platforms. And Glasgow offers a major opportunity for all architects to make an impact in driving the connections between the built environment and climate action. (For more about the importance of COP see this related ARCHITECT article : a Q&A with CCADE Member, ...
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Free for AIA members, learn more about how architects use mock-ups in Healthcare design. Register here >>
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This summer, the AIA Communities by Design hosted its first ever virtual Design Assistance Team in the city of Austin, specifically the Palm District in downtown Austin. Below, find a summary of the process and the outcomes of the process. You can read the full report here .  Project Background and Process Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the city of Austin decided to move forward with a virtual SDAT, a format. The process was scheduled to complement and learn from the city’s ongoing planning process for the Palm District. Given that the national team would not physically visit the city, imposing necessary restrictions on its ability to design or analyze ...
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From our training in architecture school to design competitions and media influences, many architects are taught that great design means aesthetically beautiful buildings.  Yet we see that the world is changing and changing quickly, and so is the definition of great design. The AIA’s newly adopted  Framework for Design Excellence  is based on 10 holistic principles that are the new measure of architectural success.     Among important challenges that now must be addressed are appropriate responses to climate change. These center firmly on sustainable and resilient design strategies that incorporate wellness and environmental justice, and are now the ...
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Given the dire headlines from the Sixth Assessment Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is something that AIA COTE members can and should do: Call or email your elected members of the US House of Representatives now. Following the Biden Administration’s lead, the US Senate has taken once-in-a-generation steps to battle climate change through passage of HR 3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”, and the $3.5T multi-year budgetary framework that includes billions in new spending to promote clean energy development.    Why should AIA COTE members act now?  Three reasons:   One: Both these measures must be passed ...
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From our training in architecture school to design competitions and media influences, many architects are taught that great design means aesthetically beautiful buildings.  Yet we see that the world is changing and changing quickly, and so is the definition of great design. The AIA’s newly adopted  Framework for Design Excellence  is based on 10 holistic principles that are the new measure of architectural success.     Among important challenges that now must be addressed are appropriate responses to climate change. These center firmly on sustainable and resilient design strategies that incorporate wellness and environmental justice, and are now the ...
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PARTNER CONTENT : GAF Though much discussion lately has been around embodied carbon, at present,  CO2 emissions from building operations  (72%) represent a much larger challenge than those from construction material embodied carbon (28%). By 2050, projections anticipate a close to 50/50 split between operational and embodied carbon, but this hinges on building designs and renovations between now and 2050 making progress on improving building operations.     To reduce the carbon impact of buildings, it is best to start with the largest piece of today’s pie, operations in the use phase. Within the range of choices that can impact operational ...
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I think things are changing.   The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently  told us  what we already knew, that emissions-caused global warming is increasing and that its impacts are expanding. Where does this put us, the shapers of the built environment?   When we’re given bad news, that we already sort of knew, it’s hard to find a place to put it. I was curious to know what some architects thought about this, so I asked a few who were attuned to the issue how much architects need to do, what are our obligations, and how do we act on them?   Here’s what I heard from Rand Ekman, FAIA, Principal and Chief Sustainability Officer ...
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CarbonPositive: COP26

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CarbonPositive: COP26   By Kira Gould   For ARCHITECT magazine , I asked Architecture 2030 president Vincent Martinez about the significance of the U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26)  in Glasgow this November, and the critical messages the international community needs to know about the building sector. For nearly two decades,  Architecture 2030  has reshaped national and international attention on the building sector. At COP21 in 2015, the nonprofit organization led the effort to  highlight the critical role of the built environment . In November, Architecture 2030 will return to press the issue at COP26 ...
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In 2015, I toured the existing San Francisco Animal Care & Control Center (SFACC). SFACC is a taxpayer funded open door animal shelter that provides housing, care, and medical treatment to stray, lost, abandoned, and sick animals, regardless of species. It is the city’s only open door animal shelter. I distinctly remember this walk-through of the old ACC building, because it was in bad shape and obviously not intended for a long-term animal care shelter. The acoustics were non-existent between the kennels and the smell was very unpleasant. It felt like the animals were wedged into the building and there was little or no separation between people who were ...
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Enhancing the environment to engage social interactions By Miao Jia It’s common to acknowledge that disconnectedness between older adults and their social context easily happens when they move into the unfamiliar environment of a long-term care community. Residents struggle with challenges of establishing new connections and potentially reduced amount of meaningful social interactions. As a salient predictor of health and mental well-being, sufficient social engagement is a crucial component that supports the successful aging of older adults. Thus, optimizing living environments to empower social engagement is a meaningful topic to explore for the senior ...
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